Five Rebels Named Preseason All-SEC
Chad Kelly (far left) and Evan Engram (far right) were named preseason All-SEC Thursday morning
Aug. 25, 2016

2016 Preseason Coaches All-SEC Teams

– The Ole Miss football team landed five Rebels on the preseason All-Southeastern Conference lists voted on by the 14 league head coaches, the league office announced Thursday morning (August 25). This marks the fourth straight year at least five Rebels were named All-SEC heading into the season.

Senior quarterback Chad Kelly earned first-team honors as he returns to lead the Ole Miss offense for the second consecutive season. Fellow classmates Evan Engram and Tony Conner made the second team, while juniors Marquis Haynes and Gary Wunderlich landed on the all-conference third team for the preseason.

Tabbed by many experts as the best quarterback in the SEC and one of the top QBs in the nation, Kelly has been featured on multiple award watch lists to go along with his preseason all-conference accolades. In his first season as a Rebel, the Buffalo, New York, native broke 14 single-season school records, including total offense (4,542 yards), completion percentage (65.1), passing efficiency (155.9), 300-yard passing games (8) and touchdowns responsible for (41). His offensive output was the third-highest in SEC history, behind only the 2012 and 2013 seasons by Johnny Manziel. Completing 298 passes for 4,042 yards and 31 touchdowns, all program bests, Kelly became the third SEC quarterback to throw for more than 4,000 yards in a season.



In only three seasons, Engram already holds the Ole Miss all-time records for receptions (97) and receiving yards (1,394) by a tight end. He ranks fifth among all Rebel tight ends with seven career touchdown catches and looks to move up the charts as a senior. The Powder Springs, Georgia, native has played in 34 games throughout his first three seasons, including all 26 of the team’s games over the past two years. Last season, Engram greatly improved his blocking skills while remaining a major threat in the Ole Miss passing game. He caught 38 passes, tying for second on the team, for 464 yards and a pair of touchdowns. 

After being limited to five games in 2015 due to injury, Conner is back for his senior season, ready to lead the Ole Miss secondary. The Batesville, Mississippi, native played in all 26 of the Rebels’ games throughout his first two seasons, earning Freshman All-America honors in 2013. In 31 career games, Conner has racked up 152 tackles, including 18 tackles for loss. A three-year veteran at the hybrid Huskie position (a safety who has to cover passes and often lines up in the box, as well), Conner has the size (6-0, 225) and speed to create big problems for the opposing offense.

With Kelly leading the Rebels as No. 10 on the offensive side of the ball, Haynes will be wearing No. 10 this season as he leads the Landshark defense (Haynes wore No. 27 the past two seasons). With 17.5 sacks over his first two seasons at Ole Miss, Haynes already ranks tied for fourth in school history. The Jacksonville, Florida, native made 10 sacks in 2015, cracking the top five in the conference and ranking 19th nationally. In fact, his 7.0 sacks against SEC opponents were tied for second-most in the league. Along with his sack total, Haynes recorded 16.5 tackles for loss and finished the season with 43 tackles. Three times throughout 2015, he was named SEC Defensive Lineman of the Week en route to second team All-SEC honors at the conclusion of the regular season.

Wunderlich enters his third season at Ole Miss after a record-breaking year in 2015. Going a perfect 63-for-63, he broke the all-time mark for PATs in a season by a Rebel kicker. The Memphis, Tennessee, native recorded 120 points throughout his sophomore campaign to lead all SEC kickers as well as rank second in Ole Miss laurels and seventh in conference history. Along with making 19 field goals, Wunderlich punted nine times, recording a 46.9-yard average and pinning five inside the 20.

The Rebels will kick off the 2016 season on Labor Day (September 5), facing No. 4 Florida State in the Camping World Kickoff. The neutral-site matchup, held at Camping World Stadium in Orlando, Florida, is slated to begin at 7 p.m. CT on ESPN.

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